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The red rose box

by Woods, Brenda

Format: Print Book 2004
Availability: Available at 2 Libraries 2 of 2 copies
Available (2)
Location Collection Call #
Community Library of Allegheny Valley - Harrison Children Fiction J WOODS
Location  Community Library of Allegheny Valley - Harrison
Collection  Children Fiction
Call Number  J WOODS
Northland Public Library Children's Paperbacks P/J WOO
Location  Northland Public Library
Collection  Children's Paperbacks
Call Number  P/J WOO
On her tenth birthday, Leah receives a surprise gift from glamorous Aunt Olivia, Mama's only sister, who lives in Los Angeles. It is a red rose box. Not many people in 1958 Louisiana have seen such a beautiful traveling case, covered with red roses, filled with jewelry, silk bedclothes, expensive soaps...and train tickets to California. Soon after, Leah and her sister, Ruth, find themselves in Hollywood, far away from cotton fields and Jim Crow laws. To Leah, California feels like freedom. But when disaster strikes back home, Leah and Ruth have to stay with Aunt Olivia permanently. Will freedom ever feel like home?
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Gr. 5-8. «This is your box of femininity,» reads 10-year-old Leah when a rose-patterned case arrives on her birthday. Along with silk and jewelry, there are train tickets for Leah, younger sister Ruth, and their mother to travel from Sulphur, Louisiana, to Los Angeles, to visit long-estranged Aunt Olivia. It's 1953, and Leah is amazed by California. There are no Jim Crow laws, and Aunt Olivia and her husband live in a home as luxurious as the rose box. Still, Leah misses what's familiar. Later, when the girls visit their aunt and uncle on their own, a tragic event takes their home and their parents, and the girls move permanently to Los Angeles. In language made musical with southern phrases, this first novel shapes the era and characters with both well-chosen particulars and universal emotions. Some of the transitions between events feel too brief, and the tragedy is heavily foreshadowed. But young readers will connect with Leah and feel her difficult pull between freedom, comfort, and her deeply felt roots. Gillian Engberg."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Woods's moving first novel opens in sleepy Sulphur, La., in June 1953, when Leah receives a 10th birthday present from her estranged aunt in Los Angeles: a traveling case covered with red roses. The gift holds treasures the likes of which Leah has never seen: costume jewelry, a pink silk bed jacket ("like what rich white women wears b'fore bed at night," her grandmother tells Leah and her sister), pink satin slippers, nail polish, lipstick. A letter of apology from Leah's aunt to Leah's mother occasions a visit to L.A. with her mother, grandmother and younger sister, and Leah revels in the luxuries of her aunt's privileged world, a stark contrast to the subsistent lifestyle the child knows. Exposure to the freedom from segregation that exists south of the Mason-Dixon line also makes a dramatic impression on the heroine. After the girls' parents perish in a hurricane and the siblings move into the elegant home of kind Olivia and her husband, the youngsters want for nothing. Yet Leah's thoughts of her parents and past haunt her constantly: "It felt like I was a million miles from Sulphur and crayfish, cotton fields and hand-me-down clothes, a one-room schoolhouse, segregation, and Jim Crow. But I knew one thing. I knew that I would gladly give up this new comfort and freedom to be in my mama's arms, to feel the tenderness in my daddy's touch one more time." Though the repetition of similar reflections occasionally slackens the pace of Woods's narrative, she creates some memorable characters, especially Leah, and probes historical events in a personal context that may open many readers' eyes. Ages 10-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Segregation -- Louisiana -- Juvenile fiction.
Poor families -- Juvenile fiction.
Sisters -- Juvenile fiction.
African American girls -- Juvenile fiction.
Louisiana -- Juvenile fiction.
Los Angeles (Calif.) -- Juvenile fiction.
Publisher New York :Puffin Books,2004
Audience 10 up.
Language English
Notes Originally published: New York : G.P Putnam's Sons, 2002.
Awards Coretta Scott King Honor Book, author, 2003
Description 136 pages ; 20 cm
ISBN 0142501514 (pbk.)
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